The Buy Box is the Holy Grail of all Amazon merchants: it affords sellers the opportunity to give their customers the quickest route to a purchase possible, bypassing any possible complications that could potentially unravel the sale. But how Amazon determines which sellers deserve the Buy Box is a closely guarded secret. There are rumours and clues, of course, but nothing terribly substantial. However, RepricerExpress has crunched some serious numbers and discovered one of the factors that can make a big difference in obtaining the revered Buy Box—here’s a quick Buy Box guide primer.
General Factors Leading to a Buy Box
Most of us are familiar with the old standbys that will more often than not net you a Buy Box:
- Sell and/or order for a minimum of three months, sometimes up to six months. The length of time before you start getting noticed by Amazon depends on the category of product you’re buying, as does the volume of product (e.g. socks vs HD TVs).
- Maintain extremely good customer support by answering queries and complaints, fixing problems, and making yourself available in a timely fashion.
- Get a good catalogue of positive customer reviews and feedback. The better your customers think of you, the more Amazon will take notice. If you repeatedly have customers contacting Amazon to say you screwed them in any way — or even just didn’t attend to their needs — it’ll reflect poorly on you. This is also known as having a low Order Defect Rate, which you want to keep under 1%.
- The price you sell your products at makes a difference, too. If you consistently set your prices way too high or way too low, you’ll get labelled as such and will make things more difficult for you in getting a Buy Box. However, let it be known that far more often than not, it’s higher prices that’ll do you in.
- Having more than one way to send out your packages. Shipping options are important not just to your buyers, but to Amazon as well.
If you can accomplish all of these, then you’ll be on your way to being a Featured Merchant, which paves the way to a Buy Box. It’s no guarantee that you’ll wake up with one in your stocking, but you can definitely put your money on getting it rather than a lump of coal.
The Other Factor: Getting a Buy Box
One of the points we deliberately didn’t mention above as being important to getting a Buy Box is shipping time. As we all know, there are four different time-frames — names are all ours — in which you can ship a product to your buyers:
- Super fast: It gets there in two or fewer days.
- Business week fast: Anywhere from three days to seven days.
- Meh — so-so: Expect it sometime within the second-ish week.
- Snail’s pace: Longer than two weeks, and you could probably get it faster if you walked over to fetch your product.
Obviously, customers want their products as fast as possible, but shipping costs are a whole different matter. There are going to be times when you just cannot ship something immediately without charging the buyer, but there are times when you can make a difference, even if it’s just a day or two.
It’s that difference that Amazon pays close attention to, particularly if you do it a certain way. For example, if you get the item to your buyer faster within one of the time frames, that’s pretty good. An improvement is an improvement, even if you just go from 11 days to nine days.
But if you can jump over the boundaries of time-frames? Well, Amazon will be very, very happy with you when considering who should get a Buy Box. Let’s say you’ve really been working harder at getting your shipment to arrive not in eight days, but six, or if you can even pull some strings and go from three days to two. Amazon will weigh this boundary leap much more heavily than if you do it within the time-frame, and your chances of winning a Buy Box go up a lot more.